In recent years there has been a revolution in our understanding of genes and how they come to control the physical outcomes of development. Central to this has been the understanding of the cellular processes of RNA interference (RNAi), for which the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 2006. Coupled with this has been the recognition that microRNAs are key mediators of this process within cells. RNAi whether mediated exogenously by synthetic oligonucleotides or vector-delivered double stranded RNA or endogenously by microRNAs can have a profound and specific effect on gene expression. Elucidating and understanding these processes in the chicken will provide critical information to enable more precise control over breeding strategies for improvement of traits in production poultry, either by direct or indirect means. It will also provide alternative strategies for the control and prevention of important avian diseases.